At one point, not that many years ago, Apple sold almost 55 million iPods; last year, it sold less than 15 million units. Most people would look at those figures and think “Hmm, I think less people are buying iPods than ever before, and the trend is likely to continue”, but this certainly hasn’t stopped the company from busting out an all-new iPod Touch, which it calls its best yet (shouldn’t that be obvious?)
Essentially an iPhone 6 without the phone bit and the large screen (the Touch has a 4-inch screen), the new iPod certainly gets a raft of pretty hefty upgrades – the iPhone 6’s A8 processor, an 8MP camera, better fitness tracking via an M8 coprocessor, faster WiFi and 1GB of RAM – but the point is this: when you can carry your music and videos around on your smartphone and/or tablet, why would you want a separate device to lug around as well?
Even if you were to argue that Apple Music is the shizz (and it’s an impressive service), the fact is that there are other streaming services that are very good – and Apple Music for Android is around the corner anyway, so you won’t need an Apple product to use it. The new device doesn’t have the iPhone 6’s excellent TouchID fingerprint scanner, either, and like all Apple products, pricing is decidedly premium – the 16GB version will cost Rs 18,900, the 32GB model Rs 22,900 and the 64GB version Rs 26,900. For almost exactly the same money as the 32GB version, you can buy a full-fledged OnePlus One smartphone with 64GB of storage (expandable via USB OTG), or a whole host of other budget smartphones for far less money.
So what is the new iPod’s purpose in life? It could function as a music-only device that you hooked up to your speakers at home, thus leaving you to fiddle with your smartphone to your heart’s content and have conversations with your nearby family on Whatsapp. It could, conceivably, be the ideal device for young children, giving them the benefits of a variety of audio, video and gaming entertainment without the cost of a mobile phone plan – and they could still make ‘calls’ over WiFi, using FaceTime, Skype and other apps. Regardless, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to state that one day, in the not so distant future, iPods and their ilk will be rendered obsolete by smartphones, just as point-and-shoot cameras have been almost wiped out by the advent of mobile phone photography. Until then, Apple will take all the iPod sales it can generate – and it’s still a very pretty device, it has to be said.